Laura B. Moody has helped thousands of GRCC students on their way to successful nursing careers. She’s shared her skills and knowledge as a professor, and she has encouraged, supported and advised students outside the classroom.
As she planned her retirement from a 22-year career, what possibly remained to be done?
There was one thing she wanted to complete: She wanted the scholarship fund she started to be fully endowed before she retired.
She began the Laura B. Moody Nursing Scholarship to honor two special women: her mother, Elizabeth R. Johnson, and her mother-in-law, Lucy Mae Moody.
“I knew some of the struggles my mom had in nursing school, and I looked at my own struggles that I went through, not knowing if there would be enough funds to take care of books and uniforms or even my nursing pin when I graduated,” Moody said. She was already helping her students informally with unexpected expenses, so it wasn’t a huge leap for her and her husband, the Rev. Nathaniel Moody, to decide to create a scholarship.
The Rev. Moody also had first-hand experience of the financial struggles college students can face. He attended Grand Rapids Junior College in 1975-1976 before going to mortuary school. He was a part-time student while working two jobs.
“A lot of his time on break at work was spent studying,” Laura Moody said. “But he was determined to accomplish his goals of completing and receiving a degree.”
After her husband received his mortuary science license, he was ordained as a pastor in the AME Zion Church and received a master’s degree in theology. He returned to GRJC to earn the one credit he needed for an associate degree and graduated in 1988. He received GRCC’s Giant Among Giants Award in January 2020.
“The biggest accomplishment was to come back and walk across that stage and receive his associate degree from GRJC,” Laura Moody said.
Both she and her husband are proud that their scholarship -- now fully endowed -- will help future nursing students.
“Some of our students go through a lot of struggles and hardships,” she said. “They are working and trying to go to school at the same time and raise a family.
“I often say, if I can help somebody as I travel along the way, then my living will not be in vain.”